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Three questions about the CP73

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 mjc
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Hi Yamaha,

First of all thanks for making this new CP stage piano. I am really interested in buying one but I have a few questions. Hope you can help:

1. Is it possible to disable the keyboard's audio-interface / audio over USB while keeping MIDI-over-USB? I already use an audio interface with more features etc, via Windows and on ipad and these devices (unlike MacOS) arent that great at handling multiple audio interfaces.

2. Do the knobs and buttons on the keyboard send midi messages I could use in for instance a DAW via MIDI learn?

3. On the CP73. Are the keys full piano width? And is the Balanced Hammer Standard (BHS), which as I understood is comparable to the action on the Montage and Motif, essentially a non-graded version of the GHS action? Or is it something that is a bit more above the GHS more entry-level mechanism? E.g. a non-graded version of the 'Graded Hammer' action (GH without the S)?

Many thanks in advance

JC

 
Posted : 25/03/2019 6:09 pm
Bad Mister
Posts: 12304
 

1. Is it possible to disable the keyboard's audio-interface / audio over USB while keeping MIDI-over-USB? I already use an audio interface with more features etc, via Windows and on ipad and these devices (unlike MacOS) arent that great at handling multiple audio interfaces.

The way that it works is you can use whatever audio interface you choose. The Yamaha Steinberg USB Driver is a multi-purpose driver that handles both MIDI and Audio communication for Yamaha and/or Steinberg hardware products that are capable of doing both. When the driver is installed you are free to use its capabilities or not use them, freely. They are there if you select it as your ASIO Device.

If, however, you select an external audio interface as your computer’s ASIO Device you would naturally select the recommended driver for that audio device. The MIDI portion of the driver simply shares installation with the audio portion (since they can be related). But you can just use the MIDI portion (setup in your application under MIDI setup).

Your job in setup is to indicate to your computer which device you want to use. Like your computer can house literally scores and scores of different Printer and Scanner drivers, it is your job to indicate to your computer which device, specifically, you want to use. If you choice to use a different audio interface, simply select it in your DAW.
Connect the Main analog Outputs of the CP to a pair of inputs on your chosen audio interface device, and it’s driver will number the inputs accordingly. That is, if you plug into that audio device’s inputs 5 and 6, then the instrument would be seen by your computer application by those numbers.

2. Do the knobs and buttons on the keyboard send midi messages I could use in for instance a DAW via MIDI learn?

Yes, they do when ‘MIDI Control’ is set to On. The CP, like most hardware keyboards will output MIDI commands when its front panel functions are manipulated. This is so you can document and then faithfully playback your performance with a DAW recording MIDI.

From the Manual:
“When this is set to “On,” control change messages dedicated to the CP88 and CP73 will be transmitted from the effective controls, allowing you to control DAW software or an external MIDI device from this instrument. When these messages are received (for example, from DAW playback), the settings of the relevant, corresponding controls will be changed. Controls that can be changed are indicated by the lit knobs and switches.”

If you wish to combine internal CP instruments with external programs in a DAW, you can accomplish this by dedicating a front panel section of controls to manipulate that external device.

From the Manual:
“When this (“MIDI Control”) is set to “Invert,” control change messages from the sections not being used can be transmitted or received. For example, when you’ve created a Live Set Sound of Piano (internally) and Strings from DAW software, you can assign the Sub section controls to affect the volume or filter of a strings instrument in DAW software.”

3. On the CP73. Are the keys full piano width? And is the Balanced Hammer Standard (BHS), which as I understood is comparable to the action on the Montage and Motif, essentially a non-graded version of the GHS action? Or is it something that is a bit more above the GHS more entry-level mechanism? E.g. a non-graded version of the 'Graded Hammer' action (GH without the S)?

The CP73 has Yamaha’s Balanced Hammer Standard action, which is similar to the feel of the weighted action found in MONTAGE8, Motif XF8/XS8, S90 XS/S70 XS.... Yamaha’s top-of-the-line synthesizers.

“Balanced Hammer” simply means all the keys offer the same resistance across the range. While “Graded Hammer”, the resistance changes as you go up the scale. One is not more “entry-level” than the other... they have different feels. Balanced Hammer simply has the same weighting across all keys.

What makes the CP73 BHS (Balanced Hammer Standard) different from the MONTAGE8/Motif XS8/XF8, etc., etc. is the Pianos do not do Aftertouch. The Synthesizer actions do feature Aftertouch.

Piano weighted actions from Yamaha are among the most researched and played actions in the world. And while you can never please everyone (a good deal of this is personal taste), they will stand on their reputations.

 
Posted : 25/03/2019 8:01 pm
 mjc
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Many thanks Bad Mister!

A few follow-up comments and questions on my end:

On question 1. Thank you. I did some further reading and for my personal situation I am probably best off using connecting the CP73's line outs to my existing audio interface (which has 16 ins) which I have connected to my ipad. I might have to use a din midi-to-USB adapter to connect the CP73 to my ipad rather than using the CP73's USB to-host directly (for midi purpose), as the CP's audio interace that also goes over the usb-to-host will probably conflict with the existing audio interface I am using on my ipad . I did some reading on this and unfortunately there isnt any real multiple-audio-interface support on the ipad. Obviously this isn't Yamaha's fault (!) but for that reason an option in a future firmware to fully disable the audio interface on the CP73 would be helpful / welcome so I could use the USB-to-host for (class compliant) midi only without issues on the ipad, rather than having to use a din-to-USB midi adapter.

On question 2. Thank you for your answer. I assume the midi data is also sent using the traditional din out's (in view of the workaround I will be using above).

3. I hope I didnt come across as rude. I hope I underrstand you correctly. So the Balanced Hammer Standard (BHS) action in the CP73 are more comparable to the Balanced Hammer Effect action in the Motif/XS keyboards (minus the aftertouch) rather than a 'balanced' version of the GHS action?

I also noticed key-length is shorter with the CP73 compared to the CP88. No problem for me: I find this acceptable from a portability perspective. More important is to me though: just to be sure: is the key-width on the CP73 is full piano width (same per-key width as e.g. CP88?). I am not overly picky on the action nor key-length, but as a piano player full (yamaha piano) key-width is important to me. If CP73 has synth keywidth (found in most of Yamaha's synth keybeds and the piagerro models) I would look further. I hope you understand this is important for me to know, as I have limited means to try out the CP73 in real life so I will have to rely a bit more on online data gathering.

 
Posted : 31/03/2019 7:41 pm
Posts: 803
Prominent Member
 

@Bad Mister

The CP73 has Yamaha’s Balanced Hammer Standard action, which is similar to the feel of the weighted action found in MONTAGE8, Motif XF8/XS8, S90 XS/S70 XS....What makes the CP73 BHS (Balanced Hammer Standard) different from the MONTAGE8/Motif XS8/XF8, etc., etc. is the Pianos do not do Aftertouch.

@ MJC

I hope I underrstand you correctly. So the Balanced Hammer Standard (BHS) action in the CP73 are more comparable to the Balanced Hammer Effect action in the Motif/XS keyboards (minus the aftertouch) rather than a 'balanced' version of the GHS action?

The CP73 is certainly similar to the Montage/Motif 88 actions at least to the extent that it is balanced rather than graded. How "similar" it feels may be subjective. But I would be surprised if it WERE the BHE action except without aftertouch, as BM implies in the juxtaposition of the two sentences quote above. That action has been implemented before, in the MO8. And it was called BHE there, so BHE already exists with and without aftertouch (so aftertouch is not a determinant of whether something is BHE or not). So BHS is more likely either an entirely new design, or, based on the nomenclature and which letter has changed, possibly as you also suggest, a balanced version of GHS.

 
Posted : 03/04/2019 12:19 pm
Bad Mister
Posts: 12304
 

I hope I underrstand you correctly. So the Balanced Hammer Standard (BHS) action in the CP73 are more comparable to the Balanced Hammer Effect action in the Motif/XS keyboards (minus the aftertouch) rather than a 'balanced' version of the GHS action?

”...a ‘balanced’ version of the GHS action.” ? I don’t know what that means.

More goes into these keyboards to make them feel like they do than you can imagine. But the action types are a known entity... and are described in the specifications. Take one of the sections of weighting from the Graded Hammer and apply it to all keys you have a Balanced Hammer. (What we don’t have is a Graded action with Aftertouch...)

The stuff you can’t talk about because it is not in the specifications is the work done to make the sound library for the product respond properly. The marriage between the sound engine and the keyboard is where a lot of the magic takes place.

Playing any of these actions with the sound off can only tell you some general things about it. You can definitely better evaluate grading when the sound is off... But you cannot decide if you like or dislike it as an action until you experience how the sounds respond. Scott, I dare say I’ve spent a little more time than you with such things with electronic keyboards (perhaps not though), but I’ll tell you some of what I learned.... The model of action BH, GH, NW, etc are just one part of the whole picture. There’s much more to the whole thing

Say the action you think feels great when the sound is off, winds up having an appalling latency, that makes it feel sluggish when you play a piano sound. Or let’s say the sound jumps out of the box far too early in the downward travel of the key... making it difficult if not impossible to play in the pocket. This stuff is measured, adjusted, sweated over and is an integral part of what makes a keyboard “feel good”.

The same action that was on a MO8 could be used on a synth engine with faster envelopes and faster filters, and “feel” entirely different to the performer.

Of course, feel is subjective. Which means you’re ‘dancing about architecture’ when arguing about what an action is or is not. We put our products in local music stores so that you can try it out for yourself... it’s the only way to know, period. There is no such thing as a standard size, length or width of a key, that can vary by manufacturer and even by models within a manufacturer’s line.

If you cannot get to a store, you should impress upon the seller of the instrument that you need a grace period to play it. It’s a musical instrument. You have to... Play it!

The company has been crafting keyboards for 131 years, pianos for about 118 of them... and certainly has sold more pianos than anyone else on this planet. I’ve been with the company a long time and in that time I’ve learned that they are driven in the research and development of musical instruments. It’s the attention to detail that most impresses. Doesn’t mean they get it right for everyone’s taste, but they do push the envelope.

 
Posted : 03/04/2019 1:35 pm
Posts: 803
Prominent Member
 

@ Bad Mister

”...a ‘balanced’ version of the GHS action.” ? I don’t know what that means.

Sure you do. 😉 Because you went on to say, "Take one of the sections of weighting from the Graded Hammer and apply it to all keys you have a Balanced Hammer." Bingo! So if you take one section of GHS (where G stands for Graded) and apply it to all the keys, and you have a Balanced (non-graded) version of GHS. And BHS would actually be a pretty sensible nomenclature for such an action. But whether that is or is not what the BHS action in the CP73 actually is is not something which has ever been stated publicly for certain, AFAIK.

As for the rest of your post, I agree completely. I mean, even if BHS is indeed a non-graded version of GHS, I would not in any way assume that the CP73 might not play beautifully. I agree, there are too many variables, you'd have to try it yourself. Even the actual GHS has felt different to me on different boards, Plus a balanced version will inherently feel different depending on which "section of weightedness" of the GHS was applied to the full board, so any attempt at predicting how it might feel based on one's GHS experience would be ill-advised from that perspective as well.

But to those who have put forth (in other forums as well) that the BHS is essentially the Montage/Motif BHE except without the aftertouch, I think that's mistaken. As I said, "BHE without aftertouch" already exists in the MO8, where it is still called BHE. Also, the weight of even the lightest BHE boards (maybe S70XS?) implies that, even without aftertouch and in an aluminum chassis, such an action could probably not be put in a board as light as the CP73.

I understand, this is largely academic, what matters is how it feels to play. But still, just from an academic perspective, I'd rather have correct info than incorrect info.

 
Posted : 03/04/2019 2:57 pm
Bad Mister
Posts: 12304
 

Maybe you know something no one else knows... but back when the MO8 roamed the earth, I believe actions still used lead, which is no longer used in any of the actions. (So again perhaps you know something I don’t). It doesn’t change my point that discussing it is like dancing about architecture... it doesn’t solve or mean much. You should play the action on the keyboard product you are thinking about purchasing.

 
Posted : 03/04/2019 3:10 pm
Posts: 803
Prominent Member
 

Maybe you know something no one else knows... but back when the MO8 roamed the earth, I believe actions still used lead, which is no longer used in any of the actions.

I think you convoluted two of my points...

...My reference to the MO8 was not about weight, but rather to point out that Yamaha already had a BHE design without aftertouch, and it was still called BHE. Not BHS. The action was made with or without aftertouch, and Yamaha still calls it BHE either way.

...My reference to weight was not compared to MO8 but to all BHE boards, and the one I mentioned was the S70XS, which didn't roam the earth all THAT long ago, I think that was available up until about two years ago, i.e. presumably still in the post-lead era.

But again, we agree, the only way to know how the CP73 feels is to play it. Academically, though, I don't think people should assume--as some people seem to--that the CP73 action is a BHE action without aftertouch, which seems unlikely (at least based on the points immediately above about nomenclature and weight). Unless Yamaha actually confirms otherwise.

{edited to correct a typo in the last paragraph, where I typed BHS instead of BHE}

 
Posted : 03/04/2019 3:49 pm
 mjc
Posts: 0
New Member
Topic starter
 

Hi Bad Mister,

I am sorry, but It would again be much appreciated if you could help me with these two questions which havent really been answered and arent that complicated imo (I have no means to try out the CP73 action before buying):

1. Is the Balanced Hammer Standard in the CP73 the same action - be it with the same weight across the keyboard rather than graded- as the Graded Hammer Standard? I am a piano player. I know very well what 'Graded' means versus Balanced. My question concerns the underlined part.

Just to clarify and be more specific: If I would take a Yamaha P 121 or P45, and would replace all the different weights used on those keys with one type of weight (specifically, the amount of grams used for the weights for all keys in keybed of the CP73), would I essentially have the same action on the CP73? Or is the underlying mechanic really different between the CP73 and P121 (again, I am not talking about it being graded or ungraded, that is just one aspect of the keybed...)..

2. Most important for me (but please let that not refrain you from answering the question above): does the CP73 have full width piano keys or (slightly) smaller / narrower (synth) width keys (like Yamaha Synths and Piagerro series)?

Many thanks,

JC

 
Posted : 03/04/2019 5:45 pm
Jason
Posts: 7930
Illustrious Member
 

Here is an existing FAQ that would describe the Montage/Motif XF8/etc. style keybed (minus aftertouch, maybe other differences) of the CP73.

http://faq.yamaha.com/us/en/article/musical-instruments/keyboards/digitalpianos/cvp_series/198/8717

Source: BM

The CP73 has Yamaha’s Balanced Hammer Standard action, which is similar to the feel of the weighted action found in MONTAGE8, Motif XF8/XS8, S90 XS/S70 XS.... Yamaha’s top-of-the-line synthesizers.

This, among other sources, tells me that the Motif XF8 (or Montage 8) keybed is a close cousin of the CP73 (which the CP73 has one easy-to-identify difference: no aftertouch). Close enough that assuming the key widths and octave spans is not a bad bet. So the chart referenced should be as good as any to judge - when looking at the MOTIF XF8 row - if the CP73 offers the dimensions you are looking for.

Excerpt from the FAQ:

There are two key widths and octave spacings within Yamaha Portable Keyboard, Synthesizer and Digital Piano 'Full Size Key' Models

Model/Series Key Width Octave Width
MOTIF XF8 22 mm 16.4 cm
...
CP Series Stage Pianos 22 mm 16.4 cm

Note: excerpt I didn't include any of the smaller size keys/spans. This is because they apply to the "synth action" type keybeds like the Motif XF6/7, Montage 6/7, among others. The CP73 does not come from the lineage of these keybeds. It takes more from the 88-key "weighted" keybeds of the flagships - not the "synth action" ones. No reason to show those smaller keys and spans.

 
Posted : 04/04/2019 9:38 am
Posts: 803
Prominent Member
 

That chart took a lot of space to say one thing: All their hammer actions are 22mm per key/16.4 cm per octave, all their non-hammer actions are 21 mm per key/15.9 cm per octave. There's some wrong info there, though... it says "MX Series" is the latter, but that would not apply to the GHS-based MX88. You can see how it happened, though... it says last updated 06/17/2015, and the MX88 probably came out after that.

 
Posted : 04/04/2019 1:31 pm
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